Category Archives: The Eternal Rose

Cool Beans

Got some totally cool news today. The Eternal Rose has gone to a second printing.

This is a big deal for Juno. And it is a big deal for me. So, to all you folks who’ve read The Eternal Rose and told your friends about it–THANK YOU!!! And keep telling all your other friends. :)

Okay, so we drove, like, a bazillion miles this past weekend. When I say–well, actually, it was probably only 1400 miles–you will understand that the distance between 1400 and a bazillion actually isn’t that great, especially from the pov of the person actually experiencing driving all that distance in one weekend.

It’s not actually that far to drive to Clarendon and back–about 1200 miles. The extra 200 come from discovering that the Broncos were playing Quanah for the district championship for the first time since we moved to town, only they were playing IN Quanah, which is 90 miles away. So–despite the fact that we had already driven through Quanah once that day–we hopped back in the vehicle and drove Back to Quanah to watch a 1A high school football game. I also got to visit with a bunch of friends while we were there, who we wouldn’t have been able to see without going to the game. And then the Broncos lost.

Because the new town is so much larger, it’s not de rigeur to go to the Friday night football games here–but it still feels weird not going. We spent a LOT of years going to the game every Friday night, because we either had a kid in the band or playing football or both. It was pretty cold. We didn’t take our seats, and the metal bleachers were definitely cold. Daytime temps are pretty much the same on the coast or in the Panhandle, but the temp drops a whole lot more at night up north. No moderating influence of the water.

I’m trying to figure out plots now, and I think I want to rewrite Chapters 2 and 3 of White Elk from the opposite point of view. I’m also having to think about bad guys–what they want, what they’re doing that the good guys can stop them from doing, and it’s tough. I think I’m going to have to do that “think up 20 things to happen here” exercise, because there are just too many possibilities. I have to pick some things–that will need reasons for them to happen–and then the next events will lead from that. I’d rather be writing, but if I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’ll be writing in circles, and I don’t fly well into the mist. I need my roadmap, and I’m having trouble deciding where it needs to go.

The bad guys are in New Mexico. This limits some of the things they can do. They have evil witch powers of several varieties and are of several ethnic backgrounds. This expands some of the things they can do. They want power, because they want to do what they want to do without anybody stopping them or crossing them, and they want money because money provides power. Power feels good because it means they can do anything they want to anybody–they’re the boss dog. Taking stuff from other people proves their power, and taking a life is the ultimate power trip. So. This is where my bad guys are coming from–and now I have to figure out what steps they’re taking to acquire more power. What EXACTLY are they doing? How are they going about acquiring this power? Ugh. What do you think they ought to be doing?

Fancy Dress Party

So we went to the party. This is me in one of my new fancy dresses. I like sparklies, and there are sparklies all the way down the front of this dress.

The invitation wasn’t real specific about where the party was–the hotel and convention center is a pretty big place, and we had to hike through the hotel till we found the right ballroom. I actually remembered a few names of people I’d met before, and even recognized who went with who even when they weren’t next to each other. I’ve met a dozen or more women named either Carol, Carolyn, Caroline or Karen… at least it seems that way. Makes it easier to remember names. I can just come out with a Kar–and mumble an ending, and they’ll think I remember. I’m so bad at names, I don’t mind at all being introduced as Grace.

Grace was actually my nickname in college, because I was so good at tripping over cracks in the sidewalk and getting run over by rampaging Weimeraners and losing my balance and falling into people and stuff. If somebody was going to mix my name up, that was probably a pretty good one to stick on me.

So, here’s the fella in his brand new tux. Someone told us at the party that the island is actually a two-tux town. I suspect we’re not rich enough for the two-tux level, but his position is a pretty political one, so we may get that many fancy-dress invitations. We’ll just have to wait and see. The guys were mostly in tuxes, but the ladies were all over the board–some in cocktail dresses, some in fancy dress pants, some in long dresses. I’m just grateful I didn’t drape my sleeves in the food…

And yes, I have to show y’all my shoes. I got really excited about finding a pair of shoes that would actually go onto my feet–and I found them at a Department Store! Usually, department stores don’t carry anything that will fit me, (wide feet, high arches) but I could get my feet into these, they didn’t hurt any more than any other shoe, and they didn’t cost a bazillion bucks. They have sparklies on them too, but the sparkle doesn’t seem to show up in the picture.

While we were at the fancy party, before dinner started (beef wellington and a really great red and yellow tomato salad), we got invited to go on a boat excursion this afternoon, and since we had no other commitments, and we like boats, we jumped on the invite. I’ll try and get back to let y’all know how it went–and I will take the camera for more pictures. I really need to get back to my painting… (Pictures=stuff to paint, so when I think about pictures, I think about painting.)

It sounds like all I’m doing is running around and going to parties–and I’m doing a lot more of that, for sure. There’s lots of stuff to do here. But I am still working on stories and writing. I got quite a bit done yesterday–finished character interviews and re-wrote the opening. Now I need to get it typed in and merged with the rest of chapter one, and ship it off for critique at next weekend’s writers’ retreat. Except I have to go on this boat ride. And tomorrow afternoon, we have tickets to a concert downtown at the Grand Opera House. (Need to try to take a picture of the inside there…) Anyway, this one is a contemporary urban fantasy romance with the various cultural mythologies merged and mixed together. Tentatively titled White Elk Red Sword, but I’m also considering something like The Shaman and the Warrior Princess… anyway.

Beach report: Went walking with the fella this a.m., and since he has no flip-flops and I like to walk IN the water, we drove down to see if Academy was open (wasn’t), and walked from 45th street to about 27th and back, instead of from 61st to 53rd, like I usually do.

Gorgeous weather–not a cloud in the sky, nice breeze, water pretty cool. More shells than rocks on the beach, but not many of either. After we crossed the 3rd jetty, there was a whole lot of seaweed of both kinds (crinkly-leaved floater and big-stemmed with roots). We’re waiting for the first big norther to blow in and push all the water way out so we can really go shell-hunting. Seagulls, pigeons, little bitty sandpiper/pipits. Saw a big sandpiper/stilt (I have Really got to go get my bird book.) with only one leg hopping away from us. And just as we were about the climb the stairs back to the car, we saw an egret fishing. Going to have to break out the long-sleeved shirt and hat and sunscreen for the harbor tour this afternoon…

I really am appreciating all the “Book sighting” reports. I had a sighting! I went across the causeway into town for the RWA meeting last Tuesday (listened to Sharon Mignery do a great workshop on Conflict), and stopped off at the Barnes & Noble, and there they were! THREE copies of The Eternal Rose and one of The Barbed Rose. So I signed them. Didn’t have any stickers…I’ll take some next time I head into town–which might not be until the next meeting, but that’s just the way it is. So. Thanks, y’all. :)

Dashing In

I MADE myself stop putting edits into the computer so I could come blog and tell all y’all (however many of you there are) what I was doing.

Actually, I made myself stop earlier so I could get to the bank before it closed and cash my birthday check. Yes, my birthday was way back at the first of the month, but first I lost the card, and when I found it, I couldn’t drag myself out of the house in time to make it by the bank. I had to do the bank and the library today, cause I had some books that needed re-checking. I decided not to get any new ones. I’ve got old ones I still need to read–and there’s that re-checking thing, since I didn’t get some of the old ones read on time. (One research book, and one book(Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley) that I intended to pick up and read a long time ago, but never got around to it. I’m about 7 chapters in and enjoying it so far–and the research book is a really good one. Very atmospheric, very “feel of the situation.” )

So anyway, I spent all of last week revising New Blood and this week, I’m putting the revisions into the computer, and going over it one last time as I do so, looking for more places to tighten or clarify. I do revisions on hard copy, because it’s too easy to miss stuff on the computer. It’s going pretty well. The office looks like a snowstorm hit, because I’m just letting the pages float to the floor, and since the fella’s away for a couple of days, I don’t feel like I have to pick them up.

In fact, since the fella’s away, I had lunch out, between the bank and the library. This was a place on Broadway between the college and downtown that doesn’t have a name that I could see, but has “Donuts, Kolaches, Burritos” painted on the outside. It’s a very Texas place, apparently, since I’m not sure there’s any other state in the nation where that would be a common combination. I was the only customer in there at almost 2 p.m., and had the shrimp poor boy (I’m becoming addicted to those things–I had to pull the shells off the tails on this one) and an apple fritter. Turns out the baker was sitting nearby, and had the counter guy bag me up a couple more fritters to take home, free gratis. How cool is that? I’ll definitely be going back there–just because the food was good, prices were good and the owner/baker was really nice. I had intended to go to this place called The Taco House, but it’s back toward home from the bank, not toward downtown. Oh well.

Oh, and we got to go hear Don McLean (of “American Pie” fame–the original song, not the movie) in a concert on Saturday. We got to sing along if we wanted. :) It was a lot of fun (though I’m not used to wearing shoes with backs on them and got the beginnings of a blister), but dang, the guy got old. So have I…beats the alternative, though.

And when we went to visit a church Sunday morning, a fight broke out in the lobby between two neighborhood guys and a church member, and I got stepped on. Nice church though, but dang, it’s way the heck on the other end of the island.

It hasn’t taken me long to get into the local island mentality. I don’t like to cross the causeway unless I absolutely have to. I’ll just stay on the island, thanks–and what happens on the island stays on the island…

Thanks for all the reports of books arriving. Keep ’em coming. I’m especially wanting to know if anybody sees the book on shelves in a bookstore. I mean, even if you ordered your book off the internet, you might go into a bookstore for some Other reason, and you could just wander by the Charles DeLint shelf (I’m usually not too far in front of his books) and see if there’s a pretty blue book…

My readers are the very bestest. 😀

The Books Are Arriving

Commenters have commented here that they have received their books. (Thank you very much. It was good to know folks are getting them.)

I have now received my copies. Yes, they are beautiful. I might even read it. I read my very first two books when I got them. (They were short.) I read Compass Rose. I only got about halfway through Barbed Rose. So–given how many times I read Eternal Rose through the revision and re-revision and paring-down-to-size process, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get all the way through it. I might go back and re-read Barbed Rose again.

I have found that when I create characters and a story that I like, I still like them when I go back and look at them again, even if it’s just a fragment I came up with ages ago that has no business even thinking about publication. I usually pick apart the prose when I read back over the story, but I still like the characters and the story. Or at least the intent of the story. What I wanted the story to be…I might realize how the story ought to be better told.

This is kind of what I’m doing now with Thunder. I came up with the idea so, so long ago–but I still like the idea and the characters and the story. I just know more about story-telling now, so maybe I can do them all justice. I hope. I’ve done more research, and I’m having a little trouble reconciling the emotional numbing symptoms of a PTSD sufferer with my character’s need to locate her family…but an overprotectiveness of loved ones is also a symptom, so maybe I can balance it that way. There’s apparently a wide variation in behavior–and given that my character is not so very “post,” I think I can make it work. It’s some of the hardest writing I’ve ever done, though.

Oh, there’s a nice review of The Eternal Rose if you’re interested, and in response to the comment about the bit that left the reviewer scratching her head, let me just say: It’s a fantasy. And leave it at that. :)

Nice slow week this week. Not much experimenting in the kitchen (I made Mediterranean Salmon with white beans last week…pretty good, even if salmon isn’t a Mediterranean fish–is it?). The steaks were awesome though, and we had leftovers. Then I found some sweet corn in the fridge to have with the leftovers, so they were awesome twice.

No beach visits so far this week–my walks have been around the neighborhood–and I’m going to have to get up earlier and get out the door earlier to beat the heat. But if nothing else gets planned–and if it doesn’t rain–I think I want to at least go to the beach to swim for my birthday Saturday. (Dang, but I’m getting old.)

They did call me to interview for the part-time job I applied for, but that’s two weeks away. I think it will be an interesting job, and still leave me time to write. Which I need to get busy and do. I need to earn my charm for September. August turned out to be just impossible. I’m probably 6 pages up right now, but that leaves me with 18 to go. I’m having to do as much thinking and researching as writing though… Have a research book I need to go buy.
Better run…


At least this is what I’ve been told. THE BOOKS HAVE LEFT THE PRINTERS. Last week, they were on the way to the distribution center. Next week, they should (note the word: SHOULD) be at the bookstores.

If you have ordered a book, whether directly from Juno, or from Amazon or any of the other stores, you ought to be getting it soon. Probably before I get my copies. A friend/fellow writer (Carole McDonnell) for Juno just got her copies of her book (Wind Follower), and I think hers was released before mine.

So. There is the latest book news. I’ll get it up on the website today or tomorrow. You ought to be getting your hands on them soon.

In other news, I have finally been on the island for a full week without 1) boxes to be unpacked, 2) a conference to attend looming in front of me, 3) company. School has started at all levels from kindergarten to university, and it may finally be possible to get settled in. Maybe.

I’m going a little giddy, I think, from all the delights of living in a larger city. There are restaurants! And concerts! And–stuff!

We have “subscribed” to the local symphony orchestra. They had a BOGO (buy one, get one free) deal on season tickets for new subscribers, and since we just moved here 8 weeks ago, we couldn’t be anything else. So we subscribed, and went to the first concert of the season last night–the annual Pops concert. It’s a small orchestra, mostly volunteer, I think, because this is a small city. But I enjoyed it tremendously. Not only did they play the Ed Sullivan Show spinning-plates song (A. Katchaturian’s Saber Dance), but they played Bugs Bunny cartoon music. Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2, which was a lot more bubbly and fun than I remember from the cartoons.

They played in an improvised auditorium, since their regular venue–the (historic) Grand Opera House–had something else, so the marimba player was kind of down in a hole and I’m not sure he could see the conductor, but it was a symphony concert! And they played fun music! And we only had to drive 10 minutes to get there! That last is a MAJOR consideration, given that up until 8 weeks ago, we had to drive an hour to get to the nearest theater unless we wanted to watch the drive-in movies or the high school band. (The movie theater is about 15 minutes away, but we don’t have to leave the island.)

The symphony concert was the same place we went to a concert on Friday night (the fella’s birthday). That concert was a “rock and roll experience” concert–at least I think that’s how they advertised it. Instead of Elvis impersonators, there were two bands, one impersonating the Beatles, the other impersonating the Rolling Stones. They were pretty good, all in all. The music was great, though you could see a few cracks around the edges of the impersonations. The guy from Louisiana impersonating Mick Jagger actually said “y’all” once. Has Jagger ever gone in for that southernism?? But it was fun. We got a kick out of it.

And this evening, after all the weekenders have (hopefully) gone home, if it’s not raining/thundering, etc., we’re going to the beach. To swim. Without little guys to watch. And then we’re coming home to cook steaks. We had to leave the grill behind, so I guess we’ll broil them in the oven, but these are some gorgeous steaks… Can’t wait.

Writing about Sex

I have a list of things I want to blog about someday. I write them down–the ones I can remember long enough to write down–so I don’t forget them. For instance, I do want to write about the TIME Magazine article “Who killed the love story?” But not today.

And the son, who is home from university this week, found my list and wrote on it: Monkeys in Outer Space bent on destroying zuwieroiyushamnn At least that’s what I think he wrote on it. And I may write a blog about monkeys in outer space bent on destroying…whatever… But not today.

Today, I’m going to blog about sex. Specifically, about writing about sex in novels. See, I got a note on my Shelfari Shelf from a friend who said that she was “unimpressed” by the One Rose books because she didn’t like books that “focus so completely around sex.”

Which took me totally aback, because I certainly didn’t think the books at all focused so completely around sex. I’ve read books that focus completely around sex, and believe me, they have a LOT more sex than the Rose books do.

The Compass Rose has only three fully consummated love scenes in it. It has a few more “sex by magic” (sorta like phone sex, only without the phone) scenes, and the characters talk about sex a lot. Because the books are about men and women who care about each other, who have a relationship–who are married to each other, to be more exact–and who have different understandings from each other about relationships and about sex and how the world works. And I firmly believe that to put people in that kind of situation and NOT address the sex issue would have been nothing less than a flat out lie.

(The Barbed Rose has more sex, as does The Eternal Rose, because in those books, the relationships are on-going and more fully developed. By the time The Eternal Rose begins, seven years have passed since the beginning of The Compass Rose. The characters have been married for that long. Sex is going to be a part of those relationships.)

All those books that have men and women traveling together on a quest for months to retrieve the Magic Hoohah and save the world–and the characters Never Even Think About Sex–are just plain lying, IMO.

People think about sex. They have sex. They screw up their lives because they try to ignore sex and they can’t. Or they screw up their lives because they have sex with anything that moves and never figure out why they’re lonely. Sex is a part of life. It’s a huge part of life, and I think that novelists–in whatever genre they write–should address it, if they’re comfortable with it.

In speculative fiction, like fantasy and science fiction, it’s possible to explore a greater range of “what ifs” than in novels set in contemporary or historical times, and exploration is a good thing, I think. If I’m ever able to write more books set in the One Rose universe, I can see Kallista’s children complaining that it’s hard enough to find one person willing to put up with your faults–

I do understand that sex is a private part of life and that some people are uncomfortable with a discussion, or even a portrayal of something so intensely private and intimate. I understand that some people have moral issues with reading about sex. Personal opinions are just that. Personal opinions. And everyone’s entitled to have them. Which is why I left the note up on my Shelfari page and didn’t delete it. Tanis has every right to not like books with much sex in them, and every right to express her opinion.

But I did want to explain why I wrote the books the way I did, and why I write about sex, and there’s not a way to respond to a note on one’s own page, and I didn’t want to stick a note on her page without any context, so I came here to share my philosophy of writing about sex with the world–or at least as much of the world as comes by to read my blog.

I’m still waiting for my copies of The Eternal Rose… Sigh.

Beyond Tired

Although I probably shouldn’t be by now. It’s Wednesday. I’ve been home (again) since Sunday evening. But I still feel like I’ve been dragged backwards through the bushes. And then maybe beat with a stick some.

I went to ArmadilloCon in Austin last weekend. It’s a science fiction/fantasy conference, was lots of fun, but dang, I’m really tired now. And it was hard attending when I hadn’t even been in the new house for a week. Still, I bet I’m the only one in a while who’s been put on both the sex- AND the religion-in-fantasy panels. We had a lot of fun doing the panels–laughed a Whole lot during the sex-in-fantasy panel–and I scored a necklace-and-earring set and a dragon print at the art auction. Both very cool and very lovely. (The jewelry is purple rock–and no, I don’t remember what kind it’s supposed to be–that will go very well with the purple rock earrings I already have.)

So, now the boy is down from college for the week. I need to go drag him out of bed so we can go to the washateria (all the laundromats around here seem to have that title) since we haven’t rented laundry equipment yet–and doing laundry in the garage is REALLY going to be not fun around here… The heat index has been in the 110s (43 C) the past few days–worse than in Houston because of the killer humidity.

We have had fresh boiled shrimp this week–bought at the grocery store, not a fish market, but still the freshest stuff I’ve had in a long time. Wonderful. My next goal for the week is to get out to the beach and get IN the water, sometime before the boy heads back to school. The grandboys are coming to visit next week (so the posts here will be sparse, I’m sure) and I plan to take them to the water several times, but their WunkaBob won’t be here then…

Cross your fingers that the books (The Eternal Rose) come in next week. The printer has promised them by then, but…

I’m trying to write, but not very hard. I got 4-1/2 pages done Monday, but there’s just too much to do. Went to Ikea to buy tables to set up for computer desks–and forgot to buy the second table. Sometime, when I’m back that way, I’ll have to get the second table. (sigh) That’s my project for today, though. To put the table on its legs. It’s bound to work better than the card table I’m using right now…

Once More, Into the Breach!

The title I stuck on this blog refers to war. It’s from a poem, or story, or something. Anyway, I feel a little like I’m at war. At war with all the stuff in my office.

See, we’re moving. Which means we need to sell the house. Which means I need to clean up my office which is packed to the rafters with totebags and magazines and books, both read and to-be-read. I am currently in the middle of revising New Blood, trying to cut 643 pages down to the vicinity of 500 or so…not doing too badly, but probably not doing quite well enough at that. And I need to proof a few things on the ARC of The Eternal Rose. And the grandboys are coming to visit on Sunday, so next week will be impossible to work. Well, until their daddy comes for a few days.

Anyway, I need to go tape a box together and stick some stuff in it. (Totebags probably.) And I don’t want to. (whine, whine) My neck is sore (from bending over those revisions, probably) and I’m tired and I’m lazy and whiney and–well, you’ve probably given up on me.

Still, the story is verra cool… I was trying to pitch it to a romance editor a while back, and my pitch was totally amorphous and awful–and I realized it really fits the epic fantasy structure better than it fits the romance novel structure. It IS a romance–the romance plot is the last one resolved–but resolving the romance also resolves the fantasy conflict… And it has a fantasy structure. Heroine learns she has magic talent and meets the hero who acts as a mentor. They defeat early bad guys and go on a quest for learning, and encounter a new, more evil bad guy. They escape him, keep going on quest, while new bad guy chases them. They think they reach safety, discover there’s an even greater evil which they team up with allies to defeat–but the evil bad guy brings the first bad guy to cause new trouble and… Well, in the end, love conquers all. Literally. Sort of. Still, it’s more a fantasy structure than a romance structure. We will see how it does.

I’d better go tape up that box…

Shaking head sadly

So tonight I got a phone call from the boy. The one in college (who still doesn’t have a summer job–GRRRR). And he wants to know about insurance on his vehicle. With one of those queasy feelings growing in my gut, I ask–not-so-nonchalantly–Why do you want to know???

Seems a tree fell on his car. A whole freakin’ tree.

Well, actually, it was more like half a tree. The tree broke in half and fell on his car. And the car of one of his roommates. But mostly on his car.

He said the damage was mostly paint, and dents–it didn’t break any windows…yet. So I told him to take pictures, and then get the freakin’ tree off the freakin’ car. Actually, I didn’t say freakin’. I didn’t use any other bad words either. I was a good mom and didn’t shock the boy. What is the deal with trees in Waco? Not that many years ago, a tree at Cameron Park dropped a giant branch on a little girl and killed her. And the wind wasn’t even blowing, either time. You expect trees to break in high wind. And Waco gets a lot of high winds. I guess it weakened the trees, and then when you’re not looking…wham!

Anyway. Tree. Car. Smush.

Oh, The Eternal Rose got a nice mention at this website. Thanks, krisstarr! I do appreciate it.

I will be posting the first chapter of the book very soon. Like, as soon as I can manage to get the website altered and get the excerpt on the site and make links to attach it to everything. Of course, people who subscribe to my newsletter get a special “newsletter only” excerpt too. :)

But first I need to write 10.5 more pages of the WWII book so I can earn my charm for this month. North Texas RWA chapter is having a “Book In A Year” challenge for its members–of whom I am one (see, I can do grammar). If we write 25 pages a month, we get a charm bracelet over the space of a year. I’ve done 2 months. But I need my 10.5 more pages to get this month’s bracelet. And it’s a good break to let New Blood ferment before I plunge into revisions.

Strange Spring

This has been a very strange spring, weather-wise, in the Texas panhandle. Not only has it been very rainy, but it’s been cool. Usually, by Memorial Day, we’ve had several days in the 90s (above 32C) and it’s pretty much stuck there. This year, we haven’t reached 90 yet, and most days haven’t made it into the 80s (26C). This is extremely cool. I’ve had to pull on my light jacket inside a lot of days.

Some will say that this proves that global warming is nonsense, but weather naturally varies from year to year. But something changed this year (or maybe the end of last) that I think proves global warning. The USDA had to change the growing zones.

These are the zones that show the average minimum temperatures which determine the hardiness of plants that will grow in that area. When we moved to our part of the panhandle, we moved into zone 7 which has a large number of plants that will grow here. Lilacs–which need more cold–will grow in zone 7, and you can also leave cannas in the ground year round without them freezing. However, in the recent “rezoning”–the southeast Texas panhandle is now in zone 8. Those lilacs are going to be under more stress, with hotter summers and warmer winters.

Growing zones are determined by the average temps over a large number of years, so obviously those averages are moving up. Global warming.

I want to give a shout-out to Jessica (and congrats on that baby boy!) and to Lindi. Don’t know when you’ll have time with a computer, Lindi-girl, but we’re proud of having an Air Force girl in the family. Come visit us if you can, while we’re in the same state. :)

Also, I sent an excerpt from The Eternal Rose out to my newsletter subscribers last week. An excerpt that I will not be posting on my website. So if you want to read it, subscribe to my newsletter. >:D The how-to is on my website. I’ll also give subscribers first look at the “official” excerpt when I post it on the website, if you need more motivation to sign up.

Okay, off to the doctor. I’m coughing like one of the lungs wants out…